Grant-funded courses at Roane State’s Incubator help boost local businesses

CROSSVILLE – Business tips on everything from taxes to balance sheets were offered during online classes provided by Roane State’s Cumberland Business Incubator (CBI) and the RSCC Workforce Training Group. Additional classes are planned in 2021.

That’s the word from Holly Hanson, director of the CBI, which is operated by Roane State and located on the college’s Cumberland County campus. The CBI provides business coaching assistance as well as incubator space to startups and offers classes to help startups and existing businesses improve their operations.

The CBI series of classes last fall were taught remotely via Zoom and were titled “In Business…It’s All About the Money, Part 1 and Part 2.” The lessons included a personal finance class taught by Hanson and answers to common questions about taxes and accounting from Steven Jones, a Crossville CPA.

“There were some great little tidbits of knowledge,” said Melissa McClung, who with husband, Steve, own Cumberland Signworks in Crossville. “I really enjoyed the classes.”

She said there’s “an entrepreneurial thread which runs through our families” and their company – which makes banners, decals and custom printed T-shirts – has been quietly growing for 17 years.

The online courses were the impetus for Melissa to shift from the desktop to the online version of QuickBooks for accounting. “I didn’t think I would like it, but I love it,” she said of the change.

Corrine Shaw, the community impact coordinator for Roane County United Way, also gave an enthusiastic review of that online bookkeeping and accounting option. Shaw said she does the bookkeeping for the nonprofit based in Harriman.

Hanson said the Personal Finance class and supplemental curriculum were developed by Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks and Turbo Tax, and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. These groups provided free access to the online textbook used in the classes.

An additional grant allowed the CBI and the RSCC Workforce Training Group to offer the classes tuition-free to participants, who were given one year of free access to QuickBooks, Hanson said.

She said the classes were a reminder. “We should continue to offer opportunities for existing businesses as well as startups to learn more about key aspects of business accounting.”

To learn more, visit or email For the RSCC Workforce Training Group, email

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